Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Yummy food and alligators?

Didn't mean to start a go to lunch thing everyday, but somehow out we went three days in a row to interesting places. First to Pastrami Dan's a 30 year plus family owned small deli that has the world's best roast beef and pastrami sandwiches (they say) and it was pretty good stuff - ate every bite and licked our fingers. They still get their meat from the same place in the Bronx - not knowing that much about pastrami, or for that matter, the Bronx, it still sounds terribly authentic to me.

Next came the Rod & Gun Club down in Everglades City. We were making our twice a year run to see the alligators. Remember this Tiffany & Chris?  Sorry about the lack of alligators, but the club was fun.  This place drips with history. Hemingway, 4 presidents, and many more notable people stayed here with all the crazy stories that a 1860's guy fishing and hunting club can dream up. Good food and very quiet this time - still off season I guess. We did see a lot of alligators and birds, not as many perhaps as we've seen in the past, but some big boys hanging out. These gators are real I promise.

Lastly went to Stir Crazy - a fun place that stirfrys (hence the clever name) your choices of vegies, meat, served with noodles or rice. I don't know if this is a chain or not, only one we've seen. Good food!

Saw our first otter of the season this morning on the beach walk. He was racing back and forth over the walkway. We'd heard loud animal noises in the mangroves as we walked and think something had disturbed it and it's family members. (We usually see three together). Hope everybody is okay - that nature is rough lesson again... Oh, added the first picture that didn't turn out at all of the otter (he & I were moving too fast, but I kind of like the special effects)

And book #56 done. (I evidently lost count with the two - I'm one more ahead than I knew. See, there's another reason for cataloguing the books) Muriel Spark - Loitering with Intent. Sadly, I didn't like it, made it through but not my style. She's considered a classicist, British (yes, I should have liked it), and much lauded. Oh, well...

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Birds, palm trees, weddings, and bonjour

Fantastic weather here - 80, low humidity, and gorgeous sun. Come on down!  And what are we doing you ask?  Well, let's see, how about stripping off wallpaper and painting our bedroom. Wow, do we make good choices or what...  Has anyone done stripping off wallpaper? - OMG, the biggest mess ever. And this was only one wall with decorative cut out wallpaper. (and we think glued on, not with wallpaper paste).

Black Skimmer
Anyway, the beach walk this morning great as usual and took a pic of another seabird I thought I knew, and was going to label as such. Not a type of tern (the other birds in the photo), just hangs out with them while they're here for the winter.

Also on the beach was a flurry of activity in the restaurant and on the sand. A wedding - how sweet and brings back wonderful memories of Tiffany & Chris's beach wedding. How time flies - it's almost 3 years ago...

I took this picture because I couldn't get over the bright orange balls that are the seeds. I love everything about palm trees and the seeds are the icing on the cake. They make a big mess on the ground though - nature...
Finished two books this week. My first on Kindle!  Really, really enjoy it - although I have a "real" book going at the same time... Book #53 In the Company of Other by Jan Karon. Love all of her books - she is an amazing writer. and #54 Royal Flush by Rhys Bowen - this is third in a series and very entertaining. London in the 1930's murder mysteries with a royal connection.
How fun is it when you can close your eyes on the beach or in a store, and hear a foreign language. Am I in Germany, France, Italy, or maybe eastern Europe? A very cosmopolitan feel and I like that...welcome to almost "season" here...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Beach, shopping, and a pear

As always when company comes, time flies by. I see it's been quite a few days since I've posted - oops. Had a terrific time with our friends, and it turned out to be very beach focused.  Lots of people out there enjoying the water and great weather. Vicki's been to other parts of Florida but not here, so it was fun showing her around. Mark and Bob were out playing golf every day with the Maryland guys group (it's an annual event).

As for shopping, we did a little bit of that, and enjoyed the outdoor cafes. Anyone for a Swarovski crystal bra?

There were strange happenings in our area a few days ago, which are not all resolved even now. A gas main line was ruptured by a construction worker way north of us, but the gas line is used by thousands of residental and commercial businesses all the way down through Naples almost to Marco Island. No gas means no hot water, and no cooking if you're not electric. All the restaurants were affected, some closed, others stayed open with very limited menus. The hotels are full now and all the guests have had to take cold showers for days and laundry sent out of town. The gas company has to visit each & every house and business to inspect and turn back on. We weren't affected personally other than cancelling dinner reservations and our guests were super flexible. Amazing, we're usually the ones right in the middle of the disaster...

Okay, here's one of my pears - number 13. Point was glowing color for this exercise. Did I get it?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Patriotism, company, and loads of juicy paint

Happy Veteran's Day
Loved these flags at the beach this morning. I'd forgotten we have a huge contingent of veterans of all types here.

Anticipating company tomorrow - and the weather prediction for the next few days is perfect, 80 and sunny. Fun to be had!
We watch Star Mt. weather which is a little bit of snowflakes swirling around.  Where do I want to be - oooh, hard, don't ask me...

Photo today of the Royal Poinciana tree. It's a drop dead gorgeous tree with fiery coral blossoms that we see on the morning walk to the beach. Thought we'd lost them due to the below freezing temps early in the year, but they are hardier than I knew.
Art class is done, but I'm so inspired by the instructor, Patty Kane, I'll be signing up for another session. After moaning about sloshy paint and doing endless pears, I have, it seems, imprinted some new techniques in the brain as I started new regular paintings. I promise to post a couple of pics. Feel free to comment.

Having issues with getting this post done. This is the third attempt, so forgive me if it's a little jumbled. Between regular errands, etc. I've been trying to schedule workmen for various small repairs around the house. Small being the key word here. No one it seems, wants to do "small" jobs, so they're either not calling me back, not showing up, or: a fun one, making a small job into a big one via the bid. Hmmm...I'll persevere anyway.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Starfish, crab, and digital reading

My birthday dinner was fabulous - the restaurant is always consistantly good. It's a darling place that flings me back to Paris. Heather & I found it first!
Weather is finally not so hot, but now dropped below normal. I had to walk at 49 degrees this morning - oh poor pitiful me... Fun beach finds today. Two star fish, and of course I threw them back. If you followed me last year down here I had a not so fun experience with a starfish I took home. Thought it was dead, and instead it gave me a bloody print on a towel as it was expiring. Sooo, always throw them back...

The crab photo is a calico crab. You don't see them whole very often, although this one looks like it's been through the wringer before landing on the beach. Shelling is not good yet. It seems to have its own mysterious cycles which happened last year, so I'll be patient. Actually I'm in need of a new container for shells -we've filled up 4 vases to the brim.
I am the proud owner of a Kindle courtesy of Heather & Tiffany for my birthday. I've been on the fence about this digital book thing, but I really like it so far. Very sexy cute & the battery life is amazing (will last a month) and Heather gave me a tip on downloading free books (classics, not hot off the press stuff, but that's still okay). This will never replace regular books for me but is a nice addition. Stephen King says it's just words after all, the method is not the important thing.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Enjoying the Florida life

As I walk down the boardwalk to the beach in the mornings, the foliage is so primeval I expect to see: a dinosaur, a monkey, or a panther, the latter being the only thing even remotely possible. Florida panthers that is, and they roam the fields near the Everglades - not near the beach.

Mark's been having fun and good luck flyfishing at the beach in the early mornings, not necessarily the same species each time. Caught a huge ladyfish the last time but he's not bringing anything home yet. I will wait for fish dinner...

Finished book #52 Bluebird, or the Invention of Happiness by Sheila Kohler. Historical fiction set in French revolution times. I bought it for $1.00 at the book store and thought what the heck. It was pretty good actually!

Sad little lost kite at the beach

Rosy Spoonbill (looks kind of like a flamingo)
 No wind lately just shimmering stillness - I think this kite was lost some time ago. Been summer temps and high humidity here, but a cool front is coming by the weekend. Hurray. My body does not understand this drippy sweaty thing. Noticable increase in cars & people around and starting to hear different languages as well. Lots of Europeans come here which makes for an interesting environment and restaurants. We have not one but two British restaurants that serve traditional English tea (haven't tried them - a little intimidating, and doesn't that mean they serve cucumber sandwiches? Not my kind of thing...), and an eastern European (as in Russian) deli/bakery that sell things I've never heard of - Halodetz, Tulski, Basa??? They even sell Russian newspapers for those who have been missing home news.
We're going to one of my favorite restaurants tomorrow night - Escargot 41; French, owned by a darling couple who moved here from France a few years ago. Shhh, it's my birthday - very low key...